This page contains a great deal of content on Medicare along with links to various U.S. Governement sites where you will find additional information. Screen down to find the area(s) of most interest to you.
Medicare is a national health insurance plan for people who are 65 or older. (Although the full retirement age for Social Security benefits is increasing, the age to qualify for Medicare remains 65.) People who are disabled or have permanent kidney failure can get Medicare if they are younger than 65.
Medicare has two parts—hospital insurance and medical insurance. Most people have both parts.
Hospital insurance, sometimes called Part A, covers inpatient hospital care and certain follow-up care.
You already have paid for it as part of your Social Security taxes while you were working. Medical insurance, sometimes called Part B, pays for physicians’ services and some other services not covered by hospital insurance. Medical insurance is optional, and you must pay monthly premiums.
If you are already getting Social Security benefits when you turn 65, your Medicare starts automatically. If you are not getting Social Security, you should sign up for Medicare before your 65th birthday, even if you are not ready to retire. For more information, call us to ask for the publication, Medicare (Publication No. 05-10043).1-800-MEDICARE
Costs of health care in retirement continue to rise
It is projected that the average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2013 with Medicare insurance coverage will need approximately $276,000 to cover medical expenses during the combined remainder of their lifetimes. This estimate includes deductibles, supplemental insurance premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, and services excluded by Medicare. The figure does not include over-the-counter medications, most dental services, and most long-term care expenses and would be a good deal more if they need to use a nursing home. Health care after retirement is more expensive than most realize.
Traditional Medicare (Part A) covers inpatient hospital costs and stays in skilled nursing facilities plus hospice care. Most pay no extra premium for Part A but in 2013 there is a deductible of $1184 for inpatient hospital stays. This amount you must pay out of pocket.
Part B which covers visits to your physician, outpatient serices, preventive care and certain home health visits charges an extra premium and in 2013 this is $1258.80 a year.
Part D, which covers prescription drugs charges charges an average of $480 per year.
Adding all this together in 2013 you will pay $3,069.80 for the year for basic Medicare coverage assuming you meet your hospital deductibles.
Call 1-800-MEDICARE to reach operators who speak English and Spanish who can answer just about any question regarding U.S. government benefits and services.
Call 1-800-633-4227 to report Medicare fraud.
If you want to ask questions and get information about your Medicare coverage check out the following resources:
Most frequently asked questions
Social Security Benefit Estimator
If you have signed up for Medicare but not Social Security there is a retirement estimator on the Social Security Website which can provide immediate and personalized benefit estimates www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator
You can also access tables which will show how much your benefits will be reduced with different choices www.ssa.gov/retire2/agereduction.htm
You can start receiving benefits any time between the age of 62 and 70; however the earlier you select to receive your benefits the less your monthly payment will be.
Social Security Longevity Calculator
Access to a new Physician Compare Website
A new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Healthcare Provider Directory is now available through the Physician Compare Website. This site is designed to help beneficiaries and their
families locate and compare health professionals in communities
across the country. You can find the following information on the
Improvements to Medicare preventive benefits
Annual wellness visit: This started in 2011. People with Medicare have access to a
new annual wellness visit where they can receive a comprehensive health risk assessment
and develop a personalized prevention plan.
Improved cost-sharing for Medicare preventive services: Also, as of in 2011 the ACA
also eliminates cost-sharing for Medicare-covered preventive services that are recommended
(rated A or B) by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The services which now
have no cost-sharing (if a doctor accepts assignment under Medicare, meaning he or she
accepts what Medicare pays for a service as payment in full) include:
- abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
- bone mass measurement
- breast cancer screening/mammograms
- cardiovascular screening tests (although you generally will have to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the doctor’s visit)
- certain types of colorectal cancer screenings (i.e., flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy)
- diabetes screening tests (although you generally will have to pay 20% of the Medicare approved amount for the doctor’s visit)
- flu shots
- Hepatitis B shots
- HIV screening tests (although you generally will have to pay 20% of the Medicareapproved amount for the doctor’s visit)
- medical nutrition therapy services (for those with diabetes or kidney disease, or who have had a kidney transplant in the last 36 months and whose doctor refers them for these services)
- Pap tests and pelvic exams
- physical exams – both the “Welcome to Medicare” visit and the annual wellness visit
- pneumococcal shot
- prostate cancer screening
- smoking cessation counseling
Smoking cessation counseling: More people are now eligible for the smoking cessation counseling benefit under Medicare. Now all beneficiaries who smoke can take advantage of as many as eight smoking cessation counseling sessions.